* you know how much i hate all these stupid ricin stories - there's been a bunch of them in the last few years, but there hasnt been a single legitimate one, and this one looks dodgy too - the details are so murky.
* the beeb is playing it up like alqaida wants to destroy the world with a long scary piece headlining their bulletins. the beeb has moved so close to cnni in the last year that its difficult to tell the two apart. the beeb, in print and on teeve helpfully tell us "If they had succeeded officials in the UK believe the impact on our lives would have been as great as 9/11." - but the details seem a whole lot murkier than the headlines...
* " the plan was to smear nicotine poison on the handles of cars and houses" LINK
* "Even a small number of beans was capable of producing a substantial number of fatal doses through inhalation or injection.”" LINK ie. *not* touching doors handles
* "The jury found Bourgass guilty of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance by using poisons and explosives for which he was given a 17 year sentence." LINK
* the cases "cost an estimated £50m" and 8 out of 9 folks werent charged LINK
* the acquitals " also undermines the justification for the Iraq war. Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, used the plot to back his case for the conflict before the UN. Tony Blair also claimed the ricin "find" was evidence of the threat of weapons of mass destruction to Britain." LINK
* "Defense lawyers said that despite one of the biggest police investigations of recent times, there was little proof of a major plot." LINK
* " "no traces of manufactured ricin had been found," despite the initial reports that traces of the toxin had been found" LINK
- which reminds me of the ricin 'find' in a parisian train station a while back - the ricin was later downgraded to table salt or some such.
* "Meguerba was given £4,000 to set up a cover story - a story of roses and chocolates... A company called Seven Roses Ltd was founded - basically a market stall in south London selling chocolates by day." LINK
* "It also emerged that Bourgass had frequently sold stolen clothing at the mosque." LINK this is a well-financed alqaida plot??
* "All the information roads led west, not to Kabul but to California and the US midwest. The recipes for ricin now seen on the internet were invented 20 years ago by survivalist Kurt Saxon. He advertises videos and books on the internet." LINK
* "The first that the British police knew of the ricin plot came in the form of a 27-page memorandum written by Algerian intelligence agents who interrogated Meguerba (not the defendant) in December 2002 and January 2003. He was deemed too risky a witness to be called before the Old Bailey. The Crown did not want him to appear because he might claim that he had been tortured in Algeria... he met Osama bin Laden on a number of occasions " LINK
* "A key unexplained issue is why the Porton Down laboratory, which analysed the material and equipment seized from a flat in Wood Green, said that a residue of ricin had been found when it had not." LINK
* "Colin Powell does not need more humiliation over the manifold errors in his February 2003 presentation to the UN. But... Yesterday's verdicts on five defendants and the dropping of charges against four others make clear there was no ricin ring. Nor did the "ricin ring" make or have ricin. Not that the government shared that news with us... We have all been victims of this mass deception. " LINK
* its very difficult to unwind the propaganda in this story - there was either an alqaida "plot to launch coordinated biological and chemical attacks across Europe" plan to kill thousands, or a single guy with nicotine who apparently planned to cause a nuisance by putting something on doorknobs - and the only evidence appears to be that he had some castor beans, cherry stones and nicotine and (presumably) some version of The Terrorists Handbook (and the testimony of someone in algeria - "who later retracted most of his accusations")
* somehow this purported unformulated 'plot' to cause a nuisance got the guy 17 years in jail, but the *actual* *murder* of a *policeman* got a 22 year sentence. go figger.
* stupid tonyblair. i hope he scares the voters into getting rid of him.
* the only question is whether a) we should feel safe that this is the worst 'terror' threat that we have, or b) we should be worried that while they were pouring unlimited resources into a bogus case, they may have missed some *actual* threats. im leaning strongly toward the former...
(update: - links fixed)